Sales for tonight's show picked up sharply and I sold an extra hundred seats in the last couple of days. Just as the word of mouth is starting to pick up the run is over. But I am very pleased with the way the shows have gone and the reception I've got and including the two podcasts I have sold over 2000 tickets for eight shows, so in spite of my minor griping I should be pleased with that.
BUT I WILL NEVER BE PLEASED.
I'm joking (and I am thinking of saying "I'm joking" after every joke from now on, just so it's clear. Though occasionally I am going to say "I'm joking" when I'm not joking as a kind of joke. Though obviously after that I will put "I'm joking" to explain that the "I'm joking" was a joke. And so on).
I might just stop joking.
Or am I?
Yes I am.
And so on.
I had woken in the middle of the night with the kind of alchol induced night terrors that I haven't suffered for a while, but which I was suffering a lot about ten years ago when I was drinking heavily. Embarrassingly I'd only had half a bottle of wine last night, but I had drunk it fairly quickly and not had any proper dinner. I felt afraid of some unspecific thing and as if life was meaningless and my skull was closing in on my brain. I used to worry that such panics were the only time in our lives when we were properly lucid - life is this frightening and pointless and we can only see the bleak truth at 4am, when we're reeling from the effects of alcohol. I had had some kind of nightmare that promised to reveal something horrible about my death or my life or something that I couldn't quite recall, but I was afraid to go back to sleep in case it all became clear again and the dreamscape finished me off. So instead I played Yahtzee on my phone for an hour until I had settled back down again and either had a better or much, much worse grip on reality. My fear is that old age will be full of these existential anxieties. Why can't we stay young forever? I am not joking.
I was calm again by the morning, if a little frazzled.
I had planned on doing a run today, but was a bit weary and had too much to do and it took me ages to get my Metro column about deporting stupid peolpe into shape. Perhaps I was too fearful that it would insult five people and so was trying to write it in a way where my irony would be clear. But pointing out irony destroys it, like salt destroys a slug. I left enough ambiguity for someone to tweet me and point out that it is ME who is the stupid one. Even though that is what I heavily imply in the last line.
I was glad I didn't go for a run though as after an energetic first half tonight I felt exhausted enough and by the end of the show my legs were heavy with tiredness. If I keep moving around in hot rooms wearing a suit then I will surely get as fit as I would if I was running for miles!
The audience was much better behaved tonight (though to be fair all but one of them were yesterday too), as was the whole of London. Walking around the centre of town on a Friday or Saturday night is a bit like being in the middle of a terrifying anxiety dream or a zombie apocalypse, especially if you yourself are sober. How did I come out here as a younger man and not spot how much danger and madness there was? Only because I was as drunk and zombieish as everyone else. You can only see it if you're not a part of it. There's a properly scary pub in Shepherd's Bush on my walk home from the station, which fufills every cliche of a scary pub and thus is hard to believe it's actually real. As I approached it last night a man was restraining another younger man and saying earnestly, "I am telling you as a friend, you have to go home right now. I'm telling you as a friend." I didn't like to think of what atrocities the drunker of the two men was about to commit, because his more level-headed pal was already smashed and I worried that it might be taken out on an innocent passerby (ie me). I popped into the supermarket and when I came out the two men were still there and embracing each other. A karoke night was going on inside and a woman was singing along to some old tune though was at least a tone flat. I didn't want to look inside for too long in case I caught someone's eye (which would obviously be reason enough to beat me senseless) but the snapshot I got was of a pub full of sad-eyed people not even pretending to enjoy the singing. Not even enjoying the fact that it was rubbish. Just sitting, listening morosely, sipping their pints, glad that something was happening to make the evening pass. If I saw that in a TV drama I would have dismissed it, but it was all really happening. And I realised that the air of misery was not confined just to the pub. It seemed like everyone on the streets was also trying desperately to have a good time, but none of them were. A cloud of morose energy hung over the city and the only way to dispel that was in punching and kicking or for some fucking and kissing, but the joyless sort. That would come in an hour or so and I was nearly home.
And even though I knew that it was the alcohol that was the cause of the zombie plague that had gripped the capital I still got home and downed the half bottle of wine in the fridge. And my zombie attack would come when I was safe in bed and in the arms of Morpheus (don't tell the wife). None of us escaped unscathed.
Maybe I'm working too hard!